Why use a 3rd Party Live Streaming Software?
For all intents and purposes, you could just go jump into Facebook or Youtube or [insert site here], and use what is considered the native user interface, and stream away to your hearts content. The only problem with that IS just that. It can start to get boring. With no branding, lower 3rds, graphics or screen sharing capabilities, the “Plain Jane” look and feel is going to show up to the party just like everyone else. Is that how you want your brand to be remembered?
There is, however, a variety of 3rd party applications available for live streaming to both social media or any other CDN (Content Delivery Network). The purpose behind each app remains the same; deliver an audio/video feed to servers of any platform that are designated to receive a stream. These 3rd party apps give you unlimited control over sending your content to the channel of your choice, without ever having to be on the site to pull it off!
Software encoders apps contain all of the tools necessary to facilitate a professional looking broadcast and usually capable of creating their own High Definition recordings. Most of these software apps have professional features and abilities that are rarely, if ever duplicated on any kind of website that promotes itself as being able to stream live video. But that’s changing quickly.
With cloud-based server processing what it is today, the gap between apps and websites is closing quickly. It won’t be long before websites will be able to compete (as some already are) with the higher priced software in the market.
I’ll admit, it does take a certain bit of technical know-how and type of person to produce a show while it’s playing out LIVE on the air. It’s not for everyone. In fact, many people prefer to be just a talent. Producers work the scene as back-end program directors, able to pull all the strings, ring all the bells and blow all the whistles needed to run the show. This is easily achieved with the right software or SaaS website.
Beyond the normal Facebook or YouTube/HOA interfaces, I have either beta tested, currently have installed and have tested every application that is listed here.
There are a few other applications similar to these, but I wanted to keep it to the top seven so that if you’re new to this, you wouldn’t get caught up in some kind of shiny object syndrome and waste a lot of time trying to find the good ones.
I only focus on apps that can at least stream to Facebook. Below, (in order of my preference), is a short list of those software apps. These are what I consider to be the BEST live streaming apps available to the everyday live streamer.
There are other enterprise platforms available, but they are designed and operated by very large content delivery networks such as Ustream, LiveStream and other professional network-level corporations. Our opinions based on wants and needs may vary:
2. OBS – Orig. (End of Life)/Studio – PC/Mac/Linux (http://obsproject.com)
4. XSplit – Broadcaster/Gamecaster – PC/Mac/Linux (http://xsplit.com)
5. VidBlasterX – Home/Studio/Broadcast – PC/Mac (http://vidblasterx.com)
7. Wirecast v. 8.0 – Studio/Pro – PC/Mac (https://www.telestream.net/wirecast)
Follow the links above to get to the respective websites, while I write up some overviews of each!